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Old 02-19-21, 09:55 AM   #1
Daox
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Default Low power office computer?

I am looking for some suggestions on possible upgrades. My wife has an old quite inefficient computer setup that she has been using. It is an Athlon X3 455 which has a 95W TDP. The thing sucks down over 100W at idle and 200W loaded. It performs fine for her, but I am casually looking to upgrade it. There are now 10W TDP chips that are quite a bit faster haha. Increased speed isn't a huge priority, but power consumption is. I've been looking at some of the mini PCs that run the Celeron J4105 or J4125. These are both 10W processors. Even an Athlon 200GE would be a sizable upgrade with its 35W TDP.

So, I am looking for suggestions. I am quite comfortable building the computer. I'd actually prefer some older used hardware if possible like the Lenovo M93P which sports a I5-4570T 35W TDP, but that's not an absolute. I am also open to other solutions, but it has to run Windows 10 as that is what she is used to.

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Old 02-22-21, 04:07 PM   #2
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For energy efficiency computing .. For several years I've had good luck with the Lenovo Ideapad 100 series.
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Old 02-22-21, 09:57 PM   #3
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Laptops are usually the best bang for the energy they use because they are a package designed to run off of a small battery for as long as possible. Usually a machine with built-in graphics versus a dedicated graphics card and a display that is about 15" or smaller will often be a reasonably low power usage. I'm currently shopping for a new laptop but with the microchip shortage going on it seems laptops and desktops are going for $100 or so more than the price they were this time last year for the same technology. ..usually prices go down or you get newer technology for the same price, but at the moment that's not the case. Apparently the graphics card market is taking a large share of the market share for crypto mining operations.
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Old 02-23-21, 12:57 AM   #4
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something like an intel NUC is a good place to look as well. you can pick them up on ebay for a song.
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Old 02-25-21, 07:09 AM   #5
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Ryzen and Intel Xe are the only integrated graphics worth buying nowadays for a new x86 machine. You can also consider some of the higher end ARM boards out there, the Pi 4 works great for regular office work.

If you're OK buying used, you might be able to find a great deal on used Thinkpads.
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Old 02-26-21, 01:31 AM   #6
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While it's true the Raspberry Pi 4B is a very powerful 4 gig ARM based 64-bit computer. I think you'd be leaving quite a bit out if you don't mention that it's not going to run like a standard computer.

ARM based chips don't run your Windows 10 or Mac OS the same. The instruction set is a limiting factor and it requires the Windows 10 IoT operating system that doesn't have the standard GUI and basically allows a single application at a time. ..not quite the Windows you would be used to and the supported applications are also not that plentiful either. The best bet is to use Linux with it, but you would want to be sure all of the software you want to run on it has a compiled version for the ARM chip

With those limitations aside, it is a very low power consumption computer and dirt cheap for the performance you get.

I agree with NiHaoMike about Intel Iris Xe or AMDs integrated graphics, these will save power versus a dedicated graphics card designed for gaming, video editing, and other graphics processing.
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Old 02-26-21, 02:37 PM   #7
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Default Low power office computer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MN Renovator View Post
Laptops are usually the best bang for the energy they use because they are a package designed to run off of a small battery for as long as possible.
Agreed. While newer chips have a better power-to-watt ratio, even the i7 in the seven dollar Ideapad Y570 I most recently picked up at a charity shop benchmarks at double the speed of your Athlon. The hinge is a bit wonky and I had to put a $21 SSD in it, but the price was right and it makes a good Linux 'desktop' when coupled with an external monitor, mouse and keyboard. It idles at 12 watts with the lid closed and peaks at 75. I've also picked up newer laptops with better Windows 10 driver support for under $25.
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Old 02-26-21, 09:41 PM   #8
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I have a M93p Tiny with the i5 4570T that I use as a Plex and file server, along with playing media on my TV. It uses about 10-13w at idle and I think peaks at 40-45w from the wall. Prices have gone up a little since I got mine (along with most hardware), one of those mini PCs with the Celerons you listed would be tempting if the difference is ~$50 or less. The one reviewed in is $180 on Amazon, not bad for that amount of performance in a tiny box.
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Old 02-27-21, 11:22 AM   #9
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I compiled a list of CPUs that I think would be some okay fits. R20 and R15 are Cinebench benchmarks for single and multi-core. I am really liking the idea of the J4000 series Celerons and Pentiums. The idea of the Asrock ITX boards with integrated processor is quite appealing. She does have a 3.5" HDD for photo storage that has to fit up to it otherwise I really do like the Lark Box Pro. Still looking for other suggestions. Thanks guys!

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Old 02-27-21, 11:27 PM   #10
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FYI the modern pentium/celeron branded chips have a lot disabled, even certain instructions. i would hunt for an i3 before going to one of those.

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